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Hacker who stole and sold unreleased songs from Ed Sheeran given 3 months to pay £100K

Hacker who stole and sold unreleased songs from Ed Sheeran given 3 months to pay £100K

He sold the tracks on the dark web for cryptocurrency

A hacker who stole unreleased Ed Sheeran songs and sold them on the dark web has been told he must pay more than £100,000 within three months or face further jail time.

Adrian Kwiatkowski, 23, stole unreleased music by multiple artists, including two tracks by Sheeran and 12 from rapper Lil Uzi Vert, which he then sold for cryptocurrency on the dark web.

Kwiatkowski, from Ipswich, pleaded guilty to 14 copyright offences, three charges of computer misuse, two charges of possession of criminal property and one charge of converting criminal property last August and was given an 18-month sentence.

Last month, he was back in court where he was ordered to pay £101,503, within three months or risk an additional 18-month sentence.

More than half the amount requested (£51,975) is currently held in a bank account belonging to Kwiatkowski while £49,528 - or 2.64 BTC - is held in Bitcoin, officers from Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at City of London Police have said.

Adrian Kwiatkowski, 23, was jailed for 18-months last August.
City of London Police

Detective Constable Daryl Fryatt from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at City of London Police, said: “Kwiatkowski executed a complex scheme to sell creative content that he did not own. Not only did he cause several musicians and their production companies significant financial harm, he deprived them of the ability to release their own work.

“Our work doesn’t just stop at conviction, and this result means that Kwiatkowski will not be able to benefit any further from the money he earned through criminal activity."

Kwiatkowski was arrested by PIPCU officers on 12 September 2019, following a joint investigation between officers in the US and UK.

INSTAR Images LLC / Alamy Stock Photo

In total, they seized seven devices including a hard drive that contained 1,263 unreleased songs by 89 artists, and a document that summarised the method he had used to obtain them.

When questioned by police, Kwiatkowski admitted he had hacked the musicians’ accounts and sold their songs online.

Officers from PIPCU, supported by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), found that Kwiatkowski made £131,000 from selling the music.

Melissa Morgia, Director of Global Content Protection and Enforcement at the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), said: “We welcome the recent developments in this case. This type of criminal activity jeopardises the work of artists and the efforts of the teams of people supporting with the creation and release of their music.”

Featured Image Credit: City Of London Police /INSTAR Images LLC / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Crime, Ed Sheeran, Music